SyFy Face Off — Immortal Enemies
A demon roams loose on Earth, his only goal to spread agony and destruction to all that he touches. What hope is there? Only one can stand against the demon – a powerful witch wielding elemental powers and choreographed fight scenes. The three Face Off finalists had to design both the demon and the witch in part one of the season three finale.
Three contestants remain: stalwart Derek, stoic Laura, and Nicole the phoenix. They’re treated to a surprise Skype session with a long-lost family member. I get that they’ve all been away from home for a long time, but they’re not on a South Pacific island or anything. Have they really not been calling their spouses/siblings every few nights?
At the lab, McKenzie reveals that the finale’s theme will be Halloween. Demons and witches! Bad demons. Good witches. The eliminated contestants come back to form teams and help the top three get their double-designs done. Teams are picked schoolyard style, and Alana and CC are not only picked last, they don’t even get to be on a team at all. Ouch.
It looks like Nicole assembles a dream team. With her vision and sculpting, Roy’s fabrication, and Sarah’s design and costuming skills, they should do amazing things with Nicole’s water-theme witch/demon pair. Then Roy gets all weird about “helping the contestant the judges picked to be in the finals instead of him.” I’ve been praising Roy all season, but I lost a lot of respect for him here. He does create a cool water staff for the witch, then leaves it somewhere precarious and Tommy smashes it accidentally. Roy seems unfazed. If I were feeling especially cynical, I might read something into that whole situation, but I won’t.
Laura takes the reins of her team, directing the creation of an earth elemental witch and a pollution demon. When the Halloween theme was unveiled, Laura observed that it was right up her alley. Why? She got her start doing Halloween Horror Nights at Universal theme park in Florida. In an interview with her local newspaper, Laura made an interesting point: east coast make-up artists get most of their experience on the haunted house circuit, so they’re generally better at handling the insanely tight schedule of Face Off than west coast artists, who tend to have more luxurious schedules on film shoots.
Derek works up a fire witch and a pale, diseased looking demon who looks rather more pathetic than evil. It was cool to see him working in partnership with his brother – you could see how well they work together and bounce ideas back and forth. I wish we’d seen more of that. The designing and sculpting segments felt terribly short this week, perhaps because there was an extra day of design time.
McKenzie Westmore’s dad, famed make-up artist Michael Westmore, stops by the lab to critique the ongoing projects and offer practical advice to the contestants. Keep those branches flexible! Lay down your light colors first! Make sure you don’t lose the detail in your sculpt! We used metallic pieces on the Borg! These scenes are some of my favorite on Face Off, and it was great to see Mr. Westmore offer his expertise.
I have something in my notes here that I can’t read. It looks like it says, “Tommy wahase.” I figure if I say it with enough authority it will sound meaningful. Seriously Tommy. Wahase. By the way, Ve said, “Bitchin’” this week. Drink! And is it me or did Patrick come back from his film set for the finale with his Greek accent five times as strong?
On to the designs. Laura’s earth witch was sleek and beautiful and received much deserved praise from the judges. Her idea to use white and dark greys to represent a tree instead of predictable low-contrast browns was brilliant. The judges condemned her pollution demon though, but I loved him and his terrifying half-melted face, not to mention the uncomfortably tight leather pants. Laura said, “They look like they come from different worlds,” with obvious pride.
Glen then used those exact same words to put the design down. Laura achieved what she intended there – there’s something cool about linked designs, but nothing in the challenge required it. Not every hero/villain pair is a mirrored pair. Look at the Flash. One of his biggest foes is Professor Zoom (aka Reverse Flash), who looks identical to Flash, but from a different place on the color wheel. Another of his archenemies, however, is a sentient gorilla.
I loved Derek’s fire witch. I don’t know quite how he did it, but the yellow/orange/red undercoat with the chunks of black on top looked utterly as though her skin was made of hardening magma. His pale demon impressed me less (and certainly less than the judges). There were cool elements, like the teeth and the painful red creases in the skin. But seeing the model’s mouth through the design was weak, and what was up with the chest/belly piece? It looked totally unpainted, and in some shots it looked like a goofy fat suit, or even as if the appliance had pulled part way up. Did they just wrap a giant cummerbund around his waist to disguise the bottom of the piece?
Nicole. Hell yeah. I’m not going to tell you guys who I’m voting for. That would be unethical. But Nicole crushed this challenge. Over the fence. Out of the park. Way out in the parking lot where the old guy sits selling Cracker Jacks and peanuts and bootleg t-shirts. All this despite a cranky teammate.
Her mer-witch had beautiful lines, great colors, a flowing costume (I sense Sarah’s hand in that), and that stunning coral headpiece. That was a great sculpt backed up by the perfect paint job. Her demon was somehow even better, bizarre complaints from the judges aside. The head shape totally evoked a predatory shark, while the horns made sure you knew he was a demon, not just some fish dude. And those teeth! Brutal, needle-sharp, rows upon rows of them. What’s funny is, I think those teeth carry off an aquatic feel because they resemble baleen, the filter material whales use to eat krill. Not terribly threatening to humans, but put those teeth in a scary demon face and they work.
This wasn’t just another witch-and-pony show. Not for the finale. Instead of standing around posing, the models, in full make up, had to perform an elaborate stunt sequence complete with Captain Kirkesque telegraphed punches, fiery explosions, wire work, and even a couple of not-so-high falls. It was the most thrilling stunt sequence this side of your local Six Flags. Looked like the costumes held up really well, though.
Now the viewers get to decide who wins the top prize: a lecture gig with a prominent make-up school, $100K, and a brand new car with all kinds of gadgets struggling artists have never seen before. In fact, that earned Nicole quote of the week when someone explained Bluetooth to her. “I don’t know…fancy…stuff.”
Head over to the SyFy site and vote away. Then tune in Halloween night for the winner’s reveal. Then come back to Gothic.net for more coverage, including exclusive interviews with some of the season three contestants.